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Dental Waterline Maintenance Sterisil 652dac3351702

Making dental unit waterline maintenance simpler and easier

Oct. 20, 2023
Dental unit waterline maintenance can be complex and time-consuming. The Sterisil SMART system simplifies the process into two easy steps, giving you more time to focus on your patients.

Dental unit waterline (DUWL) maintenance can be a time-consuming and complex process. If you’re like many hygienists, you find yourself tasked with performing multiple steps to treat and maintain your office’s DUWLs. And despite best efforts, on average, approximately one in every three waterline tests fails, which means troubleshooting and disruption to the practice schedule.1

Fortunately, there’s a better way: the Sterisil DUWL solution. Designed with the dental team in mind, this system simplifies the process of waterline maintenance, giving you more time to focus on your patients.

The two-part regimen involves a shock treatment so water safety is assured, and maintenance to prevent microbial regrowth.

Step 1: DUWL shock treatment

Shocking is the first step in the DUWL maintenance process. Traditional methods use bleach or other harsh chemicals, raising concerns about the vacuum lines being thoroughly flushed.

Citrisil Shock Tablets (part of the Sterisil SMART System) are designed specifically to shock DUWLs. Unlike bleach, they have no odor or taste. Plus, their orange color lets you know when the shock is completely flushed from the waterlines.

The tablets work by releasing a concentration of silver ions, effectively killing bacteria and other microorganisms at a rate 20 times better than iodine.2 In addition to being a disinfectant, the Citrisil tablets contain a surface-active agent that assists in the removal of contaminants and debris.

One of the top benefits is that you don’t have to shock the waterlines daily, which reduces time and effort. Just use the tablets quarterly, monthly, or as needed—and in addition to existing and ongoing maintenance treatments—to keep your office’s dental water safe and smelling fresh.

Step 2: DUWL maintenance

The second step is waterline maintenance. Sterisil helps extend the time between shock treatments, so you can rest assured that your water is clean, safe, colorless, and odorless.

The most time-saving and effective tool in this system is the Sterisil Straw and its bottle, which combine silver ion technology and built-in shock treatment. The straw keeps the colony-forming unit (CFU) count well below 500, when shocking becomes necessary, and it has an EPA-registered guarantee of 365 days. There’s no need to manually monitor iodine levels near the end of the straw’s life to check that enough iodine is present to effectively treat the water. Because the Sterisil Straw doesn’t use iodine, bleach, or peroxide, which are all oxidizers, your handpieces are protected from the damage that harsh chemicals can cause, such as pitting and corrosion. Your instruments will last longer, saving your office money and avoiding the inconvenience of repairs or replacements.

The Sterisil Straw’s bottle is the only one of its kind on the market. Its unique antimicrobial properties make maintenance simpler and easier. Unlike other bottles that need monthly cleaning, you only need to clean Sterisil bottles every three months.

Together, Citrisil Shock Tablets and the Sterisil Straw reduce the daily DUWL maintenance routine by 10 to 15 steps as compared to similar products on the market, with no need for a dummy straw.3,4 Try the Sterisil SMART System; you’ll notice the difference. 

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Editor's note: This article appeared in the October 2023 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.


  1. Dewhirst N, Molinari JA. Treating and monitoring dental water. Compend Contin Educ Dent. March 2023.
  2. What if waterline maintenance could be simple? Sterisil is the solution. Brochure. Sterisil.
  3. Simplify dental water with the superior silver ion technology of the Sterisil Straw. Brochure. Sterisil.
  4. DentaPure advanced, easy to use and cost effective clinical water treatment technology. Instructions for use. Crosstex International.
About the Author

Amy Gagne, RDHEF

Amy Gagne, RDHEF, is currently vice president of clinical affairs and education for Solmetex. Early in her clinical hygiene career, she realized how important it was to bring quality, safe, and user-friendly technology to the dental team. As an international lecturer, she brings the best technology to offices through training and implementation, so clinicians can focus on patient care. Her career includes positions of growing responsibility at Envista (formerly Kerr), Danaher, Henry Schein, and Zest Dental Solutions.

Updated September 6, 2023